New Computer Build: Hmm AMD or Intel... (in Off-topic)

Xenogard [Chaotic Serenity] March 30 2013 1:38 PM EDT

Short summary:
There will be a TL;DR section at the end lol...

For those of you who know me when it comes to building computers or talking specs, I'm very much a price/performance person and I've stuck with AMD for many years now and I've never been disappointed. I also lean towards real world performance over benchmarks.

Anyway I've finally decided to do a full PC upgrade for the first time in quite a few years, and as such I've actually been thinking about testing out an Intel build. (Only things being kept are my HDDs and DVD drive + my case if anyone was wondering.)

I was almost 100% positive that I was going to go with Intel for one real reason. PCI-E 3.0 Support on Ivy Bridge + Most Intel MoBos.

However after reading a lot of comparisons on PCI-E 2.0 vs 3.0 the difference seems to only translate into about ~8% performance gain in 3.0's favor. Which left me wondering whether or not it was actually worth it to upgrade to 3.0 at all. So I started looking into AMD boards and their newest CPUs and now I'm really not sure.

This PC will be used mainly for Gaming, but also occasionally for video editing/rendering. Also I will be OCing the crap out of it because I will be water cooling. At the same time I want this build to last at least 5+ years if possible (my current build is about that old)

What am I building this around:
Call me crazy, I don't care honestly. But this card is being built around a GTX Titan. Specifically this one:

ASUS GTXTITAN-6GD5 GeForce GTX TITAN 6GB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 SLI Support Video Card
(Not getting it from NewEgg if you were wondering)

Because I'm overclocking the crap out of my system + the graphics card, this is where I run into the dilemma of choosing which platform to go with. From what I've read the Ivy Bridge just loves to be OCed to high levels.

The Hardware
Essentially the only difference between the two builds I have for AMD and Intel are the CPUs and the MoBos, everything else is exactly the same, I will link what else is going into the build at the end.

Intel - i7 3770K Ivy Bridge 3.5GHz (3.9GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 77W Quad-Core

AMD - AMD FX-8350 Vishera 4.0GHz (4.2GHz Turbo) Socket AM3+ 125W Eight-Core

Intel - Asus Maximus V Formula

AMD - ASUS Crosshair V Formula-Z

Everything Else

PSU: CORSAIR Professional Series Gold AX850 80 PLUS GOLD Certified

RAM: G.SKILL Sniper Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866

Cooler: CORSAIR Hydro Series H100i + Replacement Fans

Case (Already Owned):COOLER MASTER HAF 932 Advanced Blue Edition

SSDs (Future upgrade):
OS Disk: Raid 1

Games/Programs: Raid 0

Closing (TL;DR)

So after all that useless crap above, essentially I'm stuck between going for a 3770k vs an FX-8350 build basing it entirely around the GTX Titan graphics card taking high OCing into account (on both the CPU and the graphics card).

Intel Pros/Cons:
+ Highly OCable
+ PCI-E 3.0 Ready
- Quad Core
- Cost

AMD Pros/Cons:
-PCI-E 2.0
-Higher watts used (77w vs 125w)

Xenogard [Chaotic Serenity] March 30 2013 1:40 PM EDT

One thing I forgot to point out, the difference between Intel vs AMD in this case is only $200, which is actually not a factor in this decision.

Xenogard [Chaotic Serenity] March 30 2013 1:48 PM EDT

^ To clarify, I know I put cost as Pros/Cons for both systems, but the $200 difference isn't extreme to me and I'm willing to spend it, but I thought it was still worth noting in the Pros/Cons.

Demigod March 30 2013 2:15 PM EDT

One question: why a 3770k instead of a 3750k? I finished building my PC about a month ago, and I specifically went for the 3750k as the benchmarks for the i7 didn't seem to be worth the much higher cost. In my case, I was able to pick up the 3750k on sale for $165 (at Microcenter) and can reach 4.5GHz OC. That's nearly the same result for half the cost.

Also, I made sure to get front-side USB 3.0. The additional cost was negligible -- it just limited the choices of mobo & case. If you're going to get a new toy, you might as well get one that's not lacking a feature that will become standard over the next few years. And while I haven't bothered testing the speeds personally, I recall some reviewers getting USB 3.0 read/write times that were twice as fast as 2.0.

Xenogard [Chaotic Serenity] March 30 2013 3:05 PM EDT

^ For the advantages of HyperThreading and better performance for video editing/photo editing, basically things outside of gaming that do make use of extra cores. That's why my choices land between the i7-3770k and the FX-8350, apparently they both perform very well in that area.

Xenogard [Chaotic Serenity] March 30 2013 3:49 PM EDT

lol actually I just came to the decision to go Intel. I saw some numbers for both Skyrim and SC2 which are two games I do play and it just completely stomps AMD in that particular area.

As far as the 3570k vs the 3770k, the 3770k beats it in certain areas that I want it to perform in.

Soo I think I have my answer. Now you can all just look at my next build lol.

Graphics card might be subject to change, still doing research on the Titan, but it's the only card that I can pay for over time and not buy straight up. Found a website that leases top tier video cards which is where I'm getting the titan from. Their choices are limited in that tier of performance for single gpu solutions. Also the Titan is expected to improve as the drivers are improved, since it's still using beta drivers.

Demigod March 30 2013 6:20 PM EDT

Just to put it in an easier format:

(Some of those aren't exact.)

Xenogard [Chaotic Serenity] March 30 2013 6:51 PM EDT

Since I'm not getting the Solid States or all 32GB or Ram right away (going with 16gb for now, upgrading to 32gb later), its closer to $1100.

Sickone March 31 2013 8:48 AM EDT

First things first, I would STRONGLY suggest you refrain from heavy overclocking.
That is for two reasons :
(1) significantly increased risk of earlier hardware failure AND
(2) a radically higher power usage (which means you need a more expensive PSU and higher energy bills)

At least you sort of already handled part of the heat issue - although I doubt you planed for a watercooling block on the video card, RAM and motherboard chipset, and with your CPU overclocking, the motherboard chipset at least really deserves extra cooling attention.
Power usage generally goes up at least quadratically, if not cubically with regards to performance increase (so, a 20% hike in performance usually means anything between a 45% to 75% higher power usage, give or take... and it only gets worse from there).
I don't know how high power costs are in your area (cents per KWh), but the yearly electricity costs of a machine that uses up an average of ~450W for 12 hours a day vs one that sucks up only ~150W could end up being 100-300 USD higher quite easily.

I have no idea what you plan to do with the video card (as in, what you want to use it for), but to be completely honest, unless you want to play the newest games on 3 fullHD monitors with high antialiasing, the video card is a complete waste of money.
For most of the games you see on the market today, a (comparatively) dirt-cheap ~150 USD card like the 2GB GTX 650 Ti is more than enough if you use a single fullHD monitor with low or even no antialiasing (which frankly, at fullHD resolution is overkill anyway, and only useful for mostly static images - AA is wasted on shooters and other action-packed games).

Instead of wasting 1000+ USD on a video card which WILL become obsolete in 6 years tops, better spend well under 200$ every 2 years or so to constantly get a new mid-range video card (and also you could recover some value by selling your old one as an used part) instead for the same or possibly even better overall satisfaction at a much lower price.

The entire PC industry is geared on a 1.5-2.5 year complete PC upgrade cycle (moral obsoletion), so trying to future-proof your machine for 5++ years is a exercise in futility and waste of money.
You're a lot better off to simply go with the flow and constantly upgrade parts of your machine with newer mid-range components AT LEAST 6 months, preferably 1+ year after the time they first come out - again, for two reasons : lower prices due to a newer generation being released (either by the competition or themselves, depending on time passed) and having somebody else hit the "early adopter" issues with hardware or firmware that's not quite as expected (base purchase on reviews of longer-time users of retail versions, not on short-term previews of pre-release publicity samples).

Sickone March 31 2013 8:52 AM EDT

Also, generally, user overclocking voids warranties (either in full or at least partially), and most parts do have firmware (or even hardware) flags that can tell whether the parts were EVER overclocked (even if you only did it as a test) in which case, bye bye refunds/replacements... and with the higher risk of failure of OC-ed parts, that can become pretty unpleasant in the long run, financially speaking.

Xenogard [Chaotic Serenity] March 31 2013 4:06 PM EDT

I was planning to water cool the gpu regardless (didn't mention it but was definitely planning on it, already made sure blocks were available.) For the Intel setup the mobo comes with built in pipes for water cooling setups, also was going to water cool everything else. Those were all going to be handled by a custom water cooling setup, I wanted one dedicated to the CPU to start off with. My case has more then enough room for a second water cooling solution for the gpu + mobo/chip-sets.

Reason for the GTX Titan card is I can lease to own it for about $100 a month for 1 year, which financially speaking, I can easily afford. My other option is a GTX 680 for about $50 a month. I know I can go with a cheaper card like the 660 Ti, but I like to play my games completely maxed at 1900x1200 (Also I really like AA..I don't play shooters or super fast paced games, but I like things to look pretty if I can make them).

I've been planning to go up to 1600p with a 27-30" monitor sometime within the next year, or just get two more 24" monitors for 5780x1200 (or whatever the surround is at that level). So support for that before I make the jump is nice.

Also the drivers look promising and if the price drops in the next 2 years or so I could easily SLI it with another one (grabbed from Ebay or something for cheap) and not really worry about anything GPU wise for many years to come. I'm still sitting with a GTX285 since they came out, while it performs well to this day, it is showing its age. But my point is that it's lasted this long with no issues, a GTX Titan/680 should give roughly the same lifespan.

However, I've been researching a lot over the past 24 hours and it seems like both the 1155 and AM3+ sockets are dead after this last batch of CPUs which is making me rethink the MoBo/CPU for this upgrade. I might go with substantially cheaper models for the mean time until all the new sockets/chip-sets are released in Q3-Q4/Q1 2014.

I should clarify that by future proofing for 5+ years I don't mean that I wont need to upgrade anything. Replacing 1-2 parts every 1-2 years doesn't bother me. I just want the majority of things to stick around for a while. Mainly the GPU/PSU/SSD/HDDs. The CPU and MoBo I expect to replace fairly often, as I mentioned earlier, with new releases of chipsets coming up I'm thinking about going with cheaper options for the time being.

As far as OCing is concerned, already experienced in that field, I know and understand the risks lol. One of the reasons I'm water cooling the CPU off the bat, for a mild OC that won't fry the rest of the board. Then like I said I'll water cool the rest later and then go for higher OCs.

Also one thing I never really mentioned is the fact that I'd either be recording or streaming while gaming, hence the need for strong multi-threaded/multi-core CPUs.

Xenogard [Chaotic Serenity] March 31 2013 4:10 PM EDT

Also in terms of power consumption, not really much of a concern of mine. I can afford it and my PC is not drawing anywhere near that much power daily. It's turned on for maybe a max of 8 hours a day with my current work/sleep schedule, except for weekends. That and my gaming sessions tend to be about 6-8 hours max these days, then I'll end up shutting down/hibernating my comp. So the extra power draw from OCing wouldn't be constant, pretty much only reserved for when I'm gaming/recording/video editing. If I'm just surfing the web or doing basic stuff I'll probably under clock everything to be honest.

Xenogard [Chaotic Serenity] March 31 2013 4:30 PM EDT

^ in hindsight, two more 24" monitors would be easier to get my hands on for far cheaper.

Also one thing I really for to mention as well is I occasionally work from home using a VM, having large/multiple monitors is like necessary for me to even work efficiently. I've been holding off on getting a second 24" for entirely way to long to begin with.

Xenogard [Chaotic Serenity] March 31 2013 5:24 PM EDT

If anyone would like to know what I'm currently leaning towards since I know I'll be upgrading both the MoBo and the CPU within a year or two.

Leaning towards AMD as allows it me to afford to grab some SSDs. Also its ~$400 for amd cpu/mobo and ~$640ish for the Intel. That right there allows me to grab a 240gb ssd for games.

Though I have to grab an external 5ghz wifi adapter (the Intel board comes with one) Yes for me making use of the 5ghz is important, lots of things running on 2.4ghz band in the house messes with my wifi. I notice its a blaze on my phone which has 5ghz integrated.

I still haven't made my decision on the Titan 100%, but I think leasing to own it for the price and my budget is not a bad deal at all.

If anyone would like to know the site I'm looking at here you go:

Xenogard [Chaotic Serenity] March 31 2013 5:58 PM EDT

^ It should be noted that I'm obviously not buying the card straight up, and with that service I can choose to switch to any other card at any time I desire. It's kind of like an endless EVGA step-up program, with the option to buy out the cards if you wish.

So any water cooling wouldn't be done until I owned the Titan, if I decided to go that route, which will give me plenty of time to get a water cooling set-up ready for it / possibly buy another for SLI. Also by that point I'll have a better idea where the CPU/MoBo market is heading.

Sickone March 31 2013 9:01 PM EDT

If you want to be streaming the live game feed while playing, the AMD CPUs are generally better right now.
The bad news is that nowadays Intel changes the socket every 2 years or so (two and a half bordering on three years at most), while AMD is a bit more lenient, but not by very much.

If you decide for a multi-card setup, you should be well aware of the issues that 2-way setups have - namely, pretty annoying microstutter.
Meaning, one frame comes lightning fast, the next frame comes a lot slower, and keeps alternating. Doesn't always happen (but when it does, it's highly annoying).
The microstuttering is happens a bit more often and is slightly more pronounced for ATI cards (comparable NVIDIA cards still have that problem too).
The solution to the problem is shockingly simple yet somewhat expensive : a 3-or-more card setup almost completely eliminates the microstutter issue for almost all card models.

So, either way, since a socket change is coming sooner rather than later for both, you may want to get a not-quite-best AMD CPU and a BUDGET motherboard that supports it (no SLI support at all) alongside a GTX 680 (if that's your only other choice), and get a brand new top-of-the-line mobo+CPU combo in a year or so (with support for 3-way SLI) and two more GTX 680s for a 3-way SLI setup.

Sickone March 31 2013 9:23 PM EDT

P.S. Three 680s in 3-way SLI mode should give you at least 70% of the average performance of two GTX Titans in 2-way SLI mode, but with no microstutter at all (so, actual gaming experience will be much smoother), and at a somewhat lower overall cost.
The only drawbacks would be power usage (more expensive PSU) and the need for a more expensive mobo (one that can handle 3-way SLI).

It's somewhat worthy of note that some existing games don't scale well on SLI setups, but then again, they probably run just fine even on a single card, so who cares.

Just for comparison's sake, a GTX Titan is only about 50% faster than a GTX 680, but costs nearly double.
Also, a single GTX 680 is almost 5 times faster compared to a GTX 285 (not quite, but close), while a relatively affordable GTX 660 Ti is nearly 4 times as fast (again, not quite, but even closer).
Even a puny GTX 650 Ti is more than twice as fast compared to a GTX 285, and a GTX 660 Ti is

If you can still barely stand what you get from a 285, then outright buying even a lowly 650 Ti would be big improvement, enough for at least another year or so.
Heck, it would probably be better to get a 660 Ti now, then later get two more 660 Ti for a 3-way SLI setup.

Or, heck, you could try and lease three 660 Ti right now (if they'll let you), and get a mobo that supports 3-way SLI from the start.

Xenogard [Chaotic Serenity] March 31 2013 10:13 PM EDT

Not at all bad suggestions, really going to think about this one for awhile about this one. Micro stuttering seems to be less if an issue these days from what I've been reading, but that's why my main goal was to go with a single slot card, but after reading that micro stuttering isn't much of a problem I just might try a SLI solution.

Xenogard [Chaotic Serenity] April 1 2013 1:57 AM EDT

So far I've come up with only one valid reason in my head to still stick with the FX-8350 and the corresponding MoBo, and that is for my brothers sake. His CPU recently fried taking his whole system with it, somehow the CPU cooler fell off and he obviouly didn't know and the chip just baked to death. So that's one of the reasons I'm pushing for this upgrade so early for myself, as he's going to be buying my current rig (except for my HDDs and Optical drive) for $200. This is to help him out really, and I can easily get way more for my rig then $200. But when I do another mobo/cpu upgrade in the future, I can pass these down to him (for a small fee) and he'll get a significant upgrade over the system as it stands.

What my brother will be inheriting (aka my current specs):

AMD Phenom II X4 955 @ 3.2 (Rev3)
MSI NF980-G65 nForce 980a SLI
4GB G.Skill DDR3 1600 cas 9 1.5v
Rosewill 750w Bronze Certified PSU
Zalman 9900 CPU Cooler (I forget the exact model)

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